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Out in the garden

April is National Garden Month, so we thought we’d look at the role gardens and gardening can play in helping people deal with their grief.

According to a report - Why garden? – Attitudes and the perceived health benefits of home gardening – gardens provide both psychological and physical health benefits. Significant associations were found between improvements in well-being, perceived stress and physical activity and more frequent gardening.

Improving health, however, was not the prime motivator to garden, but rather the direct pleasure gardening brought. There was evidence that satisfaction with one's garden and the time spent in it increased as the proportion of vegetation was enhanced.

Another study, published in Science Focus, reported that people who garden every day have stress levels 4.2% lower than people who do not garden at all.

The death of somebody we love is one of the most stressful things that can happen to us and gardening may help to reduce stress levels a little at this time. It can help to increase your quality of life, lower the stress hormone cortisol, as well as managing symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Gardening can also be a very positive way of remembering somebody you love. For instance, we’ve spoken to people who find comfort in seeing flowers which their loved one planted previously bursting into life again. This is particularly true at this time of the year, when we see tulips and other spring bulbs in our garden.

Others have planted shrubs and flowers which their loved one liked, to remember them. We spoke to somebody recently who said that, rather than giving friends a bouquet of flowers when they suffer a bereavement, instead they search for a plant, often a rose, which has that person’s name. They recently bought a rose called ‘Marjorie’ for a friend, to remember their mother by.

If you enjoy gardens, there are two gardens open in Crowborough through the National Garden Scheme on Thursday 16 June and Wednesday 22 June, 2-5pm on both days, including one owned by Bereavement Group member Brenda.

Find our more here.

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